Jan. 5, Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana
Season record: 9-7 (1-2 Big Ten)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — If you’re playing the what-if game at the midway point of season for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team, you’re not alone.
“I play it all the time,” Badgers redshirt freshman forward Ethan Happ said. “There are so many games where we should have won at the end and it didn’t (go) our way.”
The latest heartbreaking defeat for UW came Tuesday night at Assembly Hall, where Indiana senior guard Yogi Ferrell was clutch in the final minute to help the Hoosiers hold off the Badgers 59-58 in a Big Ten Conference game.
Ferrell scored 19 points, including the go-ahead basket with 37.1 seconds remaining and four free throws down the stretch, to help Indiana (13-3, 3-0 Big Ten) remain perfect in conference play.
For the Badgers (9-7, 1-2), it was their fourth loss this season by either one or two points.
There was plenty of blame to go around for this one, and the three UW players who spoke to reporters following the game each pointed the finger at themselves for different reasons.
Start with junior forward Nigel Hayes and junior point guard Bronson Koenig, who each finished with 15 points but combined to go 7 of 25 from the field.
“Part of that falls back on me,” Hayes said of UW’s four close defeats this season. “Last year, when we were in these close games, we had the older guys — Frank (Kaminsky), Josh (Gasser), Sam (Dekker), Duje (Dukan) and Trae (Jackson) — and those guys always found a way and brought us along with them to win those games.
“I need to start doing a better job of doing that myself. You develop a winning habit or you find ways to lose. … It starts with me being a leader of the team.”